Full Time Finance has been a going concern for a year and a half now. In fact this is post number 200. I wanted to take advantage of this milestone to provide some updates on various events I have written on in the past. This might also be a good opportunity to introduce new readers to Full Time Finance. Finally, at the end of this post I have a request of you, my audience.
Rental Car Arbitrage Updates
So on to the updates. Back in October I wrote a post about Rental Car Arbitrage. That post talked about receiving a free rental car as a result of the Takata Air Bag Recall. Recently the repair was completed and we had to return the new rental car.
In 4 months of having the car we drove it 4300 miles, saving us an oil change, maybe 20% tire life, and potentially 2-3% of a cars normal operating life. This is before you consider the depreciation of a new car. I’m happy to say our 2008 Versa came out the other side none the worse for wear. I can estimate the financial impact of these in a few different ways.
I prefer to base an estimate of any savings on the federal car mileage allowance. The federal car mileage allowance was 53.5 cents a mile in 2017. Mileage measurements include Gas and insurance which I still paid, so I need to subtract that from the mileage rate.
Gas is currently averaging $2.595 a gallon. The rental car averaged 30 mpg. So 8.65 cents a mile was gas and I estimate insurance costs at 15 cents a mile. Therefore, I estimate I made 29.85 cents a gallon or approximately $1200 off of the whole deal.
Estimated Taxes Updates
Another area I wrote about a while back was our game of chicken with estimated taxes. We ultimately owed only a few hundred to the tax man, thus ducking estimated taxes. I remain optimistic 2018 will lead to similar results. That being said it is harder to say with the new 2018 tax laws. The W-4 withholding tables and withholding amounts did not adjust until nearly February which makes it much harder. That being said we still expect to have a significant reduction in our tax rate in 2018, so hopefully we’ll be able to glide under the numbers again.
Back in November I wrote about whether I should buy a generator or a Wood Stove as a backup plan in case of weather related power outage. The vast majority of responders recommended a generator which I decided to buy. I am sorry to admit but I am still procrastinating on the actual purchase. Sooner or later, hopefully before it bites me.
I am not going to give much of an update on my goals here since most of them are mid cycle. That being said I will note based on the sub goals I use to track progress to the yearly metrics all items are now on track. This includes the expenditure value for which I reset the start date.
Tax Advantaged Accounts
My plans to take advantage of the fungibility of money to invest in a Mega Backdoor Roth also bore fruit. I only invested a small amount in 2017 for fear that my company would fail the 401K discrimination tests requiring for me to reverse any conversion. That being said the company passed despite their recent change to allow post tax 401K contributions and in service rollovers. For now I will likely keep our contributions in the low range as I use money for other outlets like paying down our mortgage.
We have 2 upcoming vacations booked that I am working hard to fund with travel hacking. Just like last year it appears despite plans to the contrary we will do 2 international trips instead of 1. In this case one of those trips was cheaper then flying somewhere domestic, as you’ll see later in the year. That being said I still think we will likely end up at 0 net travel cost by end of the year. Stay tuned over the coming months for more on those trips and costs.
The Blog Itself
As of this writing I am still awaiting the blog logo my relative offered to make me. I also had plans this year to invest in a PO Box and subscription list for Full Time Finance. I need to get motivated and go do it. Hopefully writing this down will give me that motivation. Beyond that our page views continue to climb, now up to around 10K a month. Not bad for someone doing this whole thing part time for entertainment without a subscription list. That being said, without you reading this that number would be 0. Thank you to every last one of you who takes the time to read my ravings and especially thanks to those who take the time to comment back.
We’re Financially Independent
In January we briefly crossed the threshold into another level of financially independent. Now it was not retire now type financially independent, but if we sold our house and rented a place at the same price as our mortgage we would meet the 4% rule. Thus historically our nest egg would support us for the next 30 years without any issue. Depending on what the market does next we will probably jump in and out of Financial Independence throughout the year. Either way we have no intention of retiring.
A Look Ahead
Well, that really closes the loop on the open questions and posts from the last year or so. I continue to write and post twice a week on Full Time Finance, but I have to admit it is becoming harder to think of new topics each week. After you write 200 articles much of the low hanging fruit is already digested. At my current average word length that means I have written more than 200,000 words on personal finance. That is more words on one topic then I have ever written and yet amazingly I still find new and interesting things to write about each week.
In order to keep the ideas flowing I figured I would reach out to you my audience. I’m sure I will come up with my own ideas but perhaps you have something you have been itching to read about. Are there any topics you would like me to write about in an upcoming post? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.